The CEO's vision for the tech giant has come into sharper relief as he pushes executives to be more collaborative and broadens the company's laser focus.
By Daisuke Wakabayashi, The Wall Street Journal
In the first few years of his tenure, Tim Cook's Apple (AAPL) looked a lot like the company he inherited from Steve Jobs.
Then, over six weeks starting in late April, Cook's image of Apple came into sharper focus. Apple agreed to buy back $100 billion of its shares -- more than any company in U.S. history -- after years of hoarding cash. Cook settled a feud with Google (GOOG), a rival that Jobs once targeted for a "holy war."
Recently, Cook agreed to acquire headphone maker and streaming-music service Beats Electronics for $3 billion and will keep the Beats' brash, in-your-face brand rather than subsume it. Earlier, he hired Angela Ahrendts, the former head of British apparel retailer Burberry (BRBY) to run Apple's retail operations, a sign Cook would choose high-profile deputies.
The company's No. 2 executive responds to backlash over a psychological experiment conducted on nearly 700,000 of its users.
By R. Jai Krishna, The Wall Street Journal
Facebook's (FB) psychological experiment on nearly 700,000 unwitting users was communicated "poorly," Sheryl Sandberg, the company's No. 2 executive, said Wednesday.
It was the first public comment on the study by a Facebook executive since the furor erupted in social-media circles over the weekend.
"This was part of ongoing research companies do to test different products, and that was what it was; it was poorly communicated," Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, said while in New Delhi. "And for that communication we apologize. We never meant to upset you."
No phone is completely hack-proof, but here are a few ways to kick up the security on your mobile device.
By Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Wall Street Journal
There's no way to completely NSA-proof your phone calls and data. But you can make the spy agency -- and anyone else -- work harder to get it.
A year after Edward Snowden made surveillance a household term, privacy and security are becoming services you can buy in your phone. This week, Blackphone, a $629 Android phone that can secure calls and messages, starts shipping. And FreedomPop, a small U.S. carrier, now offers an $8-per-month, add-on privacy service for Android handsets.
Here's a scary reality: Phone networks are insecure, and the equipment to digitally eavesdrop is getting more common. If you work with trade secrets or confidential documents, you should assess your risks. But those of us with less sensitive, but more personal, data must recognize that smartphone apps can eavesdrop too, recording your locations, contacts and photos, and possibly sharing them in ways you don't know.
Almost 700,000 unwitting subjects had their news feeds altered as part of a study to gauge effect on emotion.
By Reed Albergotti, The Wall Street Journal
A social-network furor has erupted over news that Facebook (FB), in 2012, conducted a massive psychological experiment on nearly 700,000 unwitting users.
To determine whether it could alter the emotional state of its users and prompt them to post either more positive or negative content, the site's data scientists enabled an algorithm, for one week, to automatically omit content that contained words associated with either positive or negative emotions from the central news feeds of 689,003 users.
The research, published in the March issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sparked a different emotion – outrage -- among some people who say Facebook toyed with its users emotions and uses members as guinea pigs.
The Google-owned company will allow third-party devices to communicate with and through its smart appliances, positioning them as hubs of the connected home.
By Parmy Olson, Forbes
Nest Labs is taking the next step in its quest to become a hub for the smart home, by letting other gadgets and services access its learning thermostat and smoke detector for the first time.
With the long-awaited developer program Nest is launching Tuesday, other apps and devices will be able to access what Nest detects through its sensors, including vague readings on temperature and settings that show if a person is away from their home for long periods. These services will even be able to talk to one another via Nest as the hub.
Nest, founded by former Apple (AAPL) executive Tony Fadell, has long been seen as one of the leading companies in the smart home revolution. Google (GOOG) bought the company for $3.2 billion in January, and last week Nest bought video monitoring service DropCam for $555 million to (for better or worse) learn how people behave in their homes -- for instance, by reportedly tracking how doors are open and shut.
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[BRIEFING.COM] There hasn't been a shortage of headlines for market participants to digest today. Most of them have gone down pretty easy, too.
Geopolitical concerns have ebbed for the time being, earnings results continue to be mostly better than expected, and today's economic data revealed that inflation pressures remain in check while existing home sales rose for the third straight month and topped an annual pace of 5.00 mln for the first time since October 2013.
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